Crumpets & Tea:
A Celebration of "BRIT-LITERATURE"

Jane Austen


Melanie Benjamin

Alice I have Been. bantam, 2010.
80-year-old Alice Liddell Hargreaves, who as a child inspired Lewis Carroll's famous Wonderland character, reflects upon her privileged Victorian childhood, her relationship with mathematics tutor Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), her young adult romance with Prince Leopold and subsequent marriage to country gentleman Reginald Hargreaves, and the raising of their three sons, who eventually face the horrors of World War I.

E. F. Benson

Benson's "Lucia" books are a hilarious, sharply observed satire poking fun at the outrageous snobbery of English high society. They follow the adventures of Miss Emmeline Lucas, a wealthy, intellectually-pretentious English housewife who strives to become an exemplar of culture and good taste, and will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. Miss Elizabeth Mapp is an arch-schemer and social climber from the British town of Tilling who spends her days using opera glasses and a notebook to chart her neighbors' affairs. When one day Miss Lucas meets Miss Mapp, the fur ("meow") flies.

Queen Lucia (1920)
Miss Mapp (1922)
Lucia in London (1927)
Mapp and Lucia (1931)
Lucia's Progress (1935)
Trouble for Lucia (1939)

Maeve Binchy

The Return Journey. Delacorte, 1998.
A secretary's silent passion for her boss meets the acid test on a business trip. An insecure wife clings to the illusion of order, only to discover chaos at the hands of a house-sitter. A pair of star-crossed travelers accidentally switch luggage with interesting results. Binchy presents 14 stories of love & loss, revelation & redemption.

Lawanna Blackwell

The Widow of Larkspur Inn. Bethany, 1998.
Her husband gone-along with the family fortune-Julia Hollis leaves the comforts of London to make a new home for her three children in the quaint village of Gresham where she turns an abandoned coaching inn into a lodging house for the affluent. Book 1 in The Gresham Chronicles: followed by The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter (1998), The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark (1999), and The Jewel of Gresham Green (2008).

Anita Brookner

Providence. Pantheon, 1982.
Kitty Maule longs to be "unreasonable, totally unfair, very demanding and very beautiful." Instead she is clever, reticent, and self-possessed. When she enters into an affair with a university professor, it is understood it will last only two years. But Kitty decides to win him, and her timid pursuit takes her from English lecture halls to Parisian inns, from hope to despair and back again.
Also by Anita Brooker: Hotel Du Lac (1984); Brief Lives (1990), etc.

Carrie Brown

Lamb in Love. Algonquin, 1999.
Norris Lamb and Vida Stephen have known each other forever. Every day she's nodded to the postmaster when calling for her mail. Both believe themselves somehow lacking the instinct for romance.
Also by Carrie Brown: Rose's Garden (1998).

Elizabeth Buchan

Consider the Lily. Crown, 1993.
Matty, Kit and Daisy are the best of friends. But when Kit decides he must save the family estate by marrying Matty, Daisy is forced to choose another suitor.

Elizabeth Cadell

A Lion in the Way. Morrow, 1982.
Edwin Brooke, a widower and music teacher in Calcutta, has his hands full trying to raise his daughter, Annerly, on his own. But love and the help of Mrs. Devenish turn the girl into an eligible young beauty.

Stella Cameron

Finding Ian. Kensington, 2001
Years after giving up his infant son following the death of his wife, Dr. Byron Frazer, a leading expert on family therapy, learns that he has been orphaned and is living with an elderly relative in Cornwall, England. When he decides to relaim his son, he finds that the entire village is pitted against him. Further complicatin matters is Byron's growing feelings for Jade Perron, the handywoman repairing the cottage in which he is staying.

Sarah Challis

Turning for Home. T. Dunne, 2003.
When her family tries to maneuver 84-year-old Lady Pamela out of her chamring Somerset cottage, the plotters are not counting upon the determination the octagenarian's brash, young Irish companion, and a retired racehorse named Irish Dancer.

Catherine Cookson

Meet Mary Ann Shaughnessy is the irrepressible, precocious, and unconventional daughter of Irish working class parents in England. When she is first encountered she is 8 years old and gets herself into any number of situations whether it's dealing with her father's alcoholism or the determination of a patron to turn her into a lady. The series follows her into womanhood, marriage and motherhood.

A Grand Man (1954)
The Lord and Mary Ann (1956)
The Devil and Mary Ann (1958)
Love and Mary Ann (1961)
Life and Mary Ann (1962)
Marriage and Mary Ann (1964)
Mary Ann's Angels (1965)
Mary Ann and Bill (1967)

Bob Cupp

The Edict: A Novel from the Beginnings of Golf. Knopf, 2007.
In 1457, shepherd Caeril Patersone competes for the title of champion in the sport of golf, but must contend with a conniving financier in league with a sordid nobleman, as well as the lass they have enlisted to further their interests.

R. F. Delderfield

To Serve Them All My Days. S&S, 1972.
Follows the fortunes of David Powlett-Jones, a young Welshman, from his arrival at Bamfylde, a boy's school in Devon, through his service on the Western Front during WWI, to his elevation to the position of headmaster.
Also by R. F. Delderfield: Theirs Was the Kingdom (1971); Give Us This Day (1973), etc.

John Galsworthy

The Man of Property. Putnam, 1909.
Begins the saga chronicling the lives and loves of three generations of the Forsytes, a wealthy middle-class family at the turn of the century. Followed by: In Chancery (1920); To Let (1921); The White Monkey (1924); The Silver Spoon (1926); and Swan Song (1929).

Paul Gallico

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris. Doubleday, 1958.
A redoubtable charlady who gets it into her head to own a Dior original, scrimps and saves for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the most glamourous city on earth. Followed by: Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York (1960); Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Parliament (1965); and Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Moscow (1974).

Elizabeth Gaskell

Cranford. Penguin, 2008, 1867.
Follows the adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters living in reduced circumstances in a quiet English country town in the mid-nineteenth century.

Judith Glover

Tiger Lilies. St. Martin's, 1991.
In the years before WWI, Flora Dennison lives a sheltered, privileged, and uneventful life-until she encounters Roseen O'Connor, the daughter of her father's mistress. Thus begins a love-hate relationship that will ultimately make or break the happiness of them both.

Jane Aiken Hodge

Escapade. St. Martin's, 1993.
Young Charlotte Comyn rejects the marriage proposal of childhood friend John Thornton and runs away to London where she meets scandalous actress Beth Prior. Beth welcomes Charlotte and the two travel to Sicily where they become embroiled in political intrigue.
Also by Joan Aiken Hodge: The Lost Garden (1982); A Death in Two Parts (2000), etc.

Hazel Hucker

Trials of Friendship. St. Martin's, 1996.
Her marriage failing, Polly Ferrison dreads hosting the annual reunion with her college friends, whose achievements have far outstripped hers. Then she learns that their lives have not been so fulfilling either. Each have choices to make.
Also by Hazel Hucker: A Dangerous Happiness (1994); Cousin Susannah (1995), etc.

Angela Huth

Land Girls. St. Martin's, 1994.
During WWII, three young women from different backgrounds arrive at the farm of John and Faith Lawrence to work the field under England's Land Army plan. Boy-hungry Prue, brainy Agatha and dreamy Stella find themselves thrown together, sharing an attic room and developing friendships that will last a lifetime on a farm.
Also by Angela Huth: Invitation to the Married Life (1991); Wives of the Fishermen (1998), etc.

Sara Hylton

Easter at the Lakes. St. Martin's, 1998.
When local business man Gerald Styles invites shy librarian Mary to join him on holiday at a luxury hotel called The Lakes, she sees it as the fulfilment of a fantasy. But Gerald turns out to be a very different man from the person she thought she was.
Also by Sara Hylton: Separate Lives (1999); Footsteps in the Rain (1997), etc.

Erica James

Airs & Graces. Orion, 1997.
Since her husband abandoned her, Ellen has been living on her own in a picturesque cottage in Cheshire and struggling to make ends meet. She has decided to marry again-this time for money. But Matthew, an artist who paints murals in country houses, knows what Ellen does not: that you can't plan love.
Also by Erica James: A Breath of Fresh Air (1996); A Sense of Belonging (1998), etc.

Judith Lennox

The Secret Years. St. Martin's, 1994.
The friendship of four young people in the summer of 1914 turns to jealousy and suspicion when a priceless heirloom disappears. When they meet again after the war, they are strangers and it is many years before they come to terms with that long-ago August day.
Also by Judith Lennox: Some Old Lover's Ghost (1997), etc.

Richard Llewelyn

How Green Was My Valley. Macmillan, 1940.
Huw Morgan comes-of-age in a small, turn-of-the-century Welsh mining town. Followed by: Up, Into the Singing Mountain (1960); Down Where the Moon Is Small (1966), and Green, Green My Valley Now (1975).

Malcolm Macdonald

Kernow's Daughter. St. Martin's, 1996.
Under pressure from family and society, Jessica Kernow, who would rather follow her father into the family farming business, concocts a false engagement with handsome and wealthy Cornwallis Trelawney. Their engagement seems the answer to Jessica's problem until disaster strikes-they genuinely fall in love.
Also by Malcolm Macdonald: On a Far Wide Shore (1986), etc.

Elisabeth Ogilvie

Jennie About to Be. M-H, 1984.
After her father's death, 21-year-old Jennie Hawthorne is taken in by her well-to-do aunt and uncle in London. Brought up in the moors of Northumberland, educated in an era when girls seldom learned anything but needlework and the harpsichord, Jennie is poised to flee from her suffocating new life when she meets the dashing Capt. Nigel Gilchrist, who sweeps her out of her despair. But true happiness proves elusive.
Also by Elisabeth Ogilive: The Day Before Winter (1997), etc.

G. M. T. Parsons

Laura. St. Martin's, 1978.
In this Jane Austen-like story, two orphaned sisters--conventional, open-hearted Nell and lively unconventional Laura--are sent to live with their uncle in Norfolk. After a tragic accident for which she blames herself, Laura must learn to accept love in order to reach self-forgiveness.

Michael Phillips

Wild Grows the Heather in Devon. Bethany (1998).
Estranged from her family, 20-year-old Amanda Rutherford leaves her ancestral home of Heathersleigh Hall for what seems an exciting world in prewar London and the suffragette movement. Determined to make an impact and stand on her own two feet, Amanda has no idea that her world stands on the brink of tragedy. Followed by: Wayward Winds (1999).
Also by Michael Phillips: The Garden at the Edge of Beyond (1998), etc.

Rosamunde Pilcher

The Shell Seekers. T. Dunne, 1988.
Set in London and Cornwall from WWII to the present, tells the story of the Keeling family, particularly Penelope, whose most treasured possession is The Shell Seekers, which her father painted and left to her as a remembrance. But it is the fate of the painting that just may tear the family apart.
Also by Rosamunde Pilcher: Coming Home (1995); September (1990); etc.

Barbara Pym

Excellent Women. HR, 1952.
Mildred Lathbury is a clergyman's daughter who tends to get involved in other people's lives. With the arrival of new neighbors, Mildred's circle of acquaintances, hitherto limited mainly to the bachelor vicar, Julian Malory, and his enthusiastic sister, now expands to take in Mrs. Napier, an anthropologist who wears trousers and leaves the washing up, and her flag-lieutenant husband, Rockingham. When the Malorys take as a lodger a clergyman's widow, exotically called Allegra, the comedy begins to unfold.
Also by Barbara Pym: Some Tame Gazelle (1950), etc.

Miss Read (pseud. Dora Jessie Saint)


These simple and light-hearted stories tell of life in a small English village where ordinary folk live their ordinary lives, delighting in small pleasures and responding with British stiff-supper lips in time of adversity.

Village School (1956)
Village Diary (1957)
Storm in the Village (1958)
Miss Claire Remembers (1962)
Over the Gate (1964)
Village Christmas (1966)
The Fairacre Festival (1968)
Emily Davis (1971)
Tyler's Row (1972)
Farther Afield (1974)
No Holly for Miss Quinn (1976)
Village Affairs (1978)
The White Robin (1980)
Village Centenary (1981)
Summer at Fairacre (1984)
Mrs. Pringle (1989)
Changes at Fairacre (1991)
Fairwell to Fairacre (1993)


"Thrush Green" is located in the small, sleepy prosperous village of Lulling in Cotswold. full of charming and eccentric types. Where people speculate about newcomers, go about their daily lives. Wherever you look in Thrush Green, there are difficulties and changes. But all troubles pass, matters are settled in time, if not to everyone's satisfaction, yet with cheerful compromise which rational men and women depend for happiness in an imperfect world.

Thrush Green (1959)
Winter in Thrush Green (1961)
News From Thrush Green (1971)
Battles at Thrush Green (1976)
Return to Thrush Green (1979)
Gossip from Thrush Green (1981)
Affairs at Thrush Green (1983)
At Home in Thrush Green (1985)
The School at Thrush Green (1987)
Friends at Thrush Green (1990)
Celebration's at Thrush Green (1992)
The World of Thrush Green (1988)

Judith Saxton

Someone Special. St. Martin's, 1994.
On the same April day in 1926, three Englishwomen of varying social rank all give birth to daughters. Over the next three decades, their lives are filled with both hardship and happiness.
Also by Judith Saxton: First Love, Last Love (1992); Still Waters (1996), etc.

Mary Ann Shaffer

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. Dial, 2008.
In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book when Mr. Dawsey Adams, a native of Guernsey, tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--a book club formed as a way for people to gather without raising the suspicions of their Nazi occupiers during WWII.

Rebecca Shaw

The New Rector. Orion, 1994.
Over the course of a year, Peter Harris, the handsome, young new rector of Turnham Malpas meets his flock. As he deals with gossips and pranks and even a murder, Peter must contend with the sadness of his childless wife. Followed by: Talk of the Town (1996); Village Matters (1996); The Village Show (1997); Scandal in the Village (1999).

A Country Affair. Three Rivers, 2006, 2001.
After her poor exam score ruins her chances at becoming a vet, Kate Howard takes a position as receptionist for a veterinary hospital staff in the village of Barleybridge where she deals with eccentric pet owners and an unexpected romance. Followed by: Country Wives (2006, 2001).

Mary Ann Shaffer

Searching for Pemberly. Griffin, 2009.
On a trip to England after World War II, Maggie James meets the residents of a beautiful stately mansion in the country said to have been the inspiration for Jane Austen's Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice. Through reading a series of old documents, Maggie begins to unravel the history and personalities behind one of the most beloved romances in literature.

Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. RH, 2010.
In a small village retired Major Ernest Pettigrew' s quiet & proper English life is turned up-side down by his surprising friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper.

Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street. Anchor, 2005.
Drolly chronicles the lives and loves, ups and downs of the likeable, quirky and downright eccentric residents of an Edinburgh boarding house. By the author of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and The Sunday Philosophy Club.

Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle. St. Martin's Griffin, 1999, 1948.
Over the course of six months in 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, who lives with her family in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle English castle, keeps a journal in order to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with funny yet poignant entries about her home and eccentric family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra's first descent into love.

Mary Stewart

Rose Cottage. Morrow, 1997.
War widow Kate Herrick travels to Rose Cottage to retrieve some family papers for her grandmother and finds evidence of a break-in. The papers are missing. She soon uncovers a web of intrigue and discovers love where she least expects it.

Jessica Stirling

The Penny Wedding. St. Martin's, 1994.
The Burnside family's hope for a better life is shattered when17-year old Alison's mother unexpectedly dies, the Depression spreads to Glasgow, and her father loses his job. Caught between her family obligations and her dream of a medical career, she turns to her teacher and mentor, Jim Abbott, for support, only to realize that they both want more than friendship.
Also by Jessica Stirling: The Island Wife (1997); The Marrying Kind (1990), etc.

D. E. Stevenson

Mrs. Tim Christie. 1940.
Told in a diary format, this book-originally published as Mrs. Tim of the Regiment-recounts the adventures of Hester, who marries an officer in a Highland Regiment, and in addition to her womanly tasks as housekeeper, mother, and hostess, finds herself in one amusing situation after another. Followed by: Mrs. Tim Carries On (1941); Mrs. Tim Gets a Job (1947); and Mrs. Tim Flies Home (1952).

Julia Stuart

The Tower, the Zoo & the Tortoise. Doubledat, 2010.
Beefeater Balthazar Jones has lived in the Tower of London with his loving wife, Hebe, and his 120-year-old pet tortoise for the past 8 years. When he is asked to head up the Royal menagerie to house the many exotic animals gifted to the Queen, life at the Tower becomes more than a little harried

Jean Stubbs

Kelly Park. Macmillian, 1992.
After being sorely used by both her husband and lover, Flavia Pollard trades in her trendy London home for Cornwall, where she's given the chance to turn a crumbling manor house into a beautiful country inn.
Also by Jean Stubbs: A Lasting Spring (1987); Light in Summer (1990), etc.

Angela Thirkell

The Barsetshire Novels
Life in an imaginary English county called Barsetshire (borrowed from Anthony Trollope) around the time and after the Second World War, offering up a world of cultivated British gentry mixed with a generous dose of comedy.

High Rising (1933)
The Demon in the House (1934)
Wild Strawberries (1934)
August Folly (1936)
Summer Half (1937)
Pomfret Towers (1938)
The Brandons (1939)
Before Lunch (1939)
Cheerfulness Breaks In (1940)
Northbridge Rectory (1941)
Marling Hall (1942)
Growing Up (1943)
The Headmistress (1944)
Miss Bunting (1945)
Peace Breaks Out (1946)
Private Enterprise (1947)
Love Among the Ruins (1948)
Old Blank House (1949)
Country Chronicle (1950)
The Duke's Daughter (1951)
Happy Returns (1952)
Jutland Cottage (1953)
What Did It Mean? (1954)
Enter Sir Robert (1955)
Double Affair (1957)
Close Quarters (1958)
Love At All Ages (1959)
Three Score and Ten (1961)

Anthony Trollope

The "Palliser" novels are a sharply observed picture of the upper layers of Victorian society, political issues and mechanics of power with Plantagenet Palliser and his elegant and witty wife, Lady Glencora, taking center stage.

Can You Forgive Her? (1865)
Phineas Finn (1869)
The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
Phineas Redux (1874)
The Prime Minister (1876)
The Duke's Children (1880)

Joanna Trollope

The Taverners' Place. St. Martin's, 1986.
For generations the Taverner family has lived at Buscombe, a house which forms and sometimes destroys those who live there. In 1870, a new generation is about to take control-the dedicated and impulsive Tom, who is deeply caring about his inheritance, and his intelligent sister Catherine, who is frustrated by the limited opportunities open to women in a man's world.

Also by Joanna Trollope: The Rector's Wife (1991); The Best of Friends (1995), etc.

Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April. Macmillan, 1922.
Shortly after end of the Great War, four very different English ladies wishing to abandon the dismal British weather and their unsatisfying lives to spend a month in a medieval castle on the Italian Riviera. Under the spell of sweet-scented flowers and sunshine the women discover a harmony each of them has longed for but none has known.

Leonard Wibberly

The Mouse That Roared. LB, 1954.
It seems like the perfect plan: "We declare war on Monday, are vanquished Tuesday, and rehabilitated beyond our wildest dreams by Friday night." Or so the citizens of the tiny, financially-strapped Duchy of Fenwick believe when they take on the United States. After all, the forgiving Americans have been traditionally generous to countries they have defeated. What no one counts on, however, is actually winning the war.

Marcia Willett

The Courtyard. T. Dunne, 2007, 1995.
Estate owner Henry Morley remodels a cluster of cottages into a community known as the Courtyard while his spoiled, discontented younger bride has problems adjusting to country life. Teashop owner Gussie Merton finds an unlikely friend in the much younger Nell Woodward. We meet other "cottagers" as well, and disaster strikes, everyone must come together to face the crises head on. By the same author: First Friends (2006), A Friend of the Family (2006, 1995), A Summer in the Country (2003), A Week in the Winter (2002).

Sarah Woodhouse

Meeting Lily. St. Martin's, 1994.
After Nan's husband dies, she decides to remain in Italy and turn her estate into a small hotel where eccentric visitors come and go-except Mayor Bagshot, who dies in her best bed, thus turning life at the hotel upside-down and inside out. Nan concludes that managing a hotel may not be the easiest way to earn a living after all. But, as Fr. Emilio points out, love can arise when one least expects it.
Also by Sarah Woodhouse: The Native Air (1990); Other Lives (1996), etc.

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